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Women in Security Feature: Deanna VanHout – “The security industry is challenging, but also rewarding

Women in Security Feature: Deanna VanHout – “The security industry is challenging, but also rewarding Deanna VanHout, partner program manager at Paladin Technologies, discusses DEI, career challenges, and more

Women in Security Feature: Deanna VanHout

YARMOUTH, Maine—Deanna VanHout’s Paladin Technologies bio describes her as a “driven, supportive, and passionate team member.” Boy is she ever!

VanHout, the partner program manager at Paladin, told SSN about the various roles and responsibilities she takes on daily for the North American-based systems integrator.

Deanna VanHout“I am responsible for fostering effective communication, setting clear expectations, and ensuring accountability between our subcontractor partners and internal teams,” she explained. “I also play a key role in building and maintaining strong relationships between our colleagues and labor partners, offering feedback, and coaching to support their motivation and commitment to achieving success.”  

After achieving success as a project manager and coordinator at other technology companies, VanHout shifted her focus to building mutually beneficial relationships with clients and subcontractors after joining Paladin.

VanHout’s key differentiators, according to her bio, are “her excellent skills in team building and leadership, ensuring customer satisfaction, and information coordination and management. As a leader, she is motivated by facilitating outstanding client experiences with our services and improving processes and communication both internally and externally. She champions our Partner Program by ensuring that our information and services are easily accessible, organized, and accurate. Her colleagues describe her as someone who takes pride in always following through, is always willing to assist others, and refuses to do the bare minimum.”

As part of Security Systems News’ and the Security Industry Association (SIA) Women in Security Forum’s (WISF’s) continuing series highlighting the contributions of women in security, the following is an exclusive Q&A with VanHout:

SSN: How did you get into and what inspired you to stay in the security industry?

VanHout: Getting into the security industry can happen in different ways, whether it's through family connections or simply by chance. In my case, it was by chance. After working for a corporate communications company for seven years, I decided to pursue a new direction in my career. I started as a national deployment coordinator for a smaller integrator in the Twin Cities and eventually became a national project manager for another cabling and security integration company. Through those roles, I had the opportunity to work closely with subcontractors and build valuable partnerships with them.

When a colleague told me about a partner program manager position at VTI Security, now Paladin Technologies, I knew it was the right move for me. I am drawn to the endless opportunities and the dynamic nature of the industry, which is rapidly evolving. But what really keeps me invested in the industry are the people. Tradespeople are some of the most interesting, hardworking, and creative individuals out there. We work hard and play hard, and being a part of this community is more than I could have ever imagined for myself growing up.

SSN: What has your journey been like in a primarily male-dominated and historically non-diverse security industry?

VanHout: I have experienced some challenges, including feeling frustrated and discouraged at times. However, I have also found it rewarding to be part of the effort to break down barriers and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. It's encouraging to see progress being made, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I believe that increasing diversity in the industry will bring more perspectives, creativity, and innovation to the table, benefiting everyone involved. I'm proud to be part of this journey and look forward to continuing to make a positive impact.

SSN: What have you found most challenging working in the security industry and how did you overcome it?

VanHout: The most challenging aspect of working in the security industry for me has been my lack of technical knowledge. While I excel in people skills, communication, organization, and self-motivation, I struggled to understand the technical aspects of the work. To overcome this, I relied on my strengths and built relationships with colleagues who had more technical expertise. I leaned on them to help me understand the technical aspects of the work. By collaborating with my colleagues and leveraging their technical knowledge, I was able to expand my own understanding of the industry and become a more well-rounded professional. It’s good to have friends!

SSN: Have you had any role models who have helped you out along the way that you would like to mention?

VanHout: I owe a ton of my success to Emily Viau. She has introduced me to people and organizations that have completely changed my life and my career. Additionally, Nicole Kringlie. She was my first female mentor (many, many years ago) who gave me the strength and confidence to become more than I thought I could be.

Lastly, watching women like Tracy Ward, Kasia Hanson, and Christine Lanning go out there and just be these incredible bad-ass women in the industry is beyond inspiring.

SSN: What advice would you give other women thinking about getting into the industry or just starting out in the industry?

VanHout: Build a strong support system! Connect with other women, seek out mentors, and build relationships with colleagues who can offer guidance and support. Don't be afraid to ask for help or to seek out training and development opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. I would also encourage women to be persistent and resilient. The security industry can be challenging, but it's also rewarding and full of opportunities for growth and advancement. Believe in yourself, stay focused on your goals, and keep pushing forward even when faced with obstacles.

SSN: What are your views on the industry moving forward, both from a diversity perspective and a technology and business perspective during these unpredictable times?

VanHout: From a diversity perspective, I believe the security industry as a whole has made some progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. In Minnesota, I can tell you that we are completely failing at this. We need to increase the number of women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in leadership positions and create a workplace culture that values diversity.

I don’t have a lot to add on the technology piece since that’s not my area of expertise. I just know things are moving a lot faster than they ever used to!

SSN: What do you feel are the top trends, issues or challenges facing the security industry today?

VanHout: One of the biggest issues facing the security industry today is the shortage of skilled workers. We need to start to draw younger and more diverse people to this industry immediately.

SSN: Anything else that you would like to add?

VanHout: I would like to give a huge shout out to the PSA Security Network. Getting the opportunity to get on stage and talk about the Role of Male Allies in the Industry was an amazing opportunity. That, along with winning the award for The Rising Tide, made for an absolute career highlight.



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